Black Nature
Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry

Edited by Camille T. Dungy

The natural world seen through the eyes of black poets

Reviews

"Just as nature is too often defined as wilderness when, in fact, nature is everywhere we are, our nature poetry is too often defined by Anglo-American perspectives, even though poets of all backgrounds write about the living world...Dungy enlarges our understanding of the nexus between nature and culture, and introduces a 'new way of thinking about nature writing and writing by black Americans.'"
Booklist (starred review)

"No pleasures are more aesthetic than poetry and nature, so it is only natural that the two should unite. Editor Dungy here merges the worlds in a satisfying compilation that features over 100 poems by 93 African American poets, including celebrated writers June Jordan and Yusef Komunyakaa as well as newer artists like Remica L. Bingham and Indigo Moor."
Library Journal


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Description
Black Nature is the first anthology to focus on nature writing by African American poets, a genre that until now has not commonly been counted as one in which African American poets have participated.

Black poets have a long tradition of incorporating treatments of the natural world into their work, but it is often read as political, historical, or protest poetry—anything but nature poetry. This is particularly true when the definition of what constitutes nature writing is limited to work about the pastoral or the wild.

Camille T. Dungy has selected 180 poems from 93 poets that provide unique perspectives on American social and literary history to broaden our concept of nature poetry and African American poetics. This collection features major writers such as Phillis Wheatley, Rita Dove, Yusef Komunyakaa, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sterling Brown, Robert Hayden, Wanda Coleman, Natasha Trethewey, and Melvin B. Tolson as well as newer talents such as Douglas Kearney, Major Jackson, and Janice Harrington. Included are poets writing out of slavery, Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, and late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century African American poetic movements.

Black Nature brings to the fore a neglected and vital means of considering poetry by African Americans and nature-related poetry as a whole.

 

 

Page count: 432 pp.
Illustrated
Trim size: 6 x 9

 

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Cloth
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978-0-8203-3277-2
12/1/2009
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Paper
List price:
978-0-8203-3431-8
12/1/2009
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Camille T. Dungy is an associate professor in the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University. She is the author of two poetry collections, What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison and Suck on the Marrow, and has helped edit two other poetry anthologies.